Traveling by air is the most amazing, yet frustrating experience of our lives. Within moments, we are about a mile above the sea level in the air, but if our plane is 20 minutes late, the whole flight becomes a ‘disaster’. Maybe not a disaster, but we have high expectations for our personal travel experience. It’s supposed to be half fun going there, isn’t it? Many of the rules and concerns that come with traveling make every detail of the journey a potential stress point.
One area of frustration when traveling is a great box that we carry in our clothes and other essentials – suitcases. I am confident that all of us at one time or another have had the rough experience of carrying a suitcase or a carry-on bag on a plane to a small overhead bogie. To make matters worse, our luggage is likely to be completely lost.
To help solve this and other problems associated with the travel suitcase approach, a team of young entrepreneurs has created Bluesmart – the world’s first smart-connected suitcase. Their first product is a carry-on bag that allows a traveler to charge their phone up to 6 times, use the built-in scale to check the weight of their luggage, lock the suitcase remotely via a mobile device, and even track where the bag is. Any time. When creating the Bluesmart suitcase, the founding team researched the FAA, TSA, and other agency policies and guidelines to make sure every part of their device would be included. Brian Chen, co-founder, said: “We’ve flown to many countries with Bluesmart prototypes and we’ve never had any problems.” After a year of hard work on design and research, startups have launched a crowdfunding campaign that maps them out and provides a basic foundation for their funding and clients.
With an initial goal of $ 50,000, Bluesmart’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aimed to raise enough funds to run a basic product. It quickly became a success as they were able to increase that amount within the first two hours of going live.
Not only did they exceed their initial goal, the campaign ended with support for more than $ 1.35M for thousands of new customers and now raised a total of 8 1.8M on Indiegogo. “We are not happy with the results and we feel legitimate in the sense that people want the product we designed. It’s comforting, exciting – a whole mixed bag of emotions. “Brian knows that hard work has just begun to gain the support and legitimacy of what they’ve created, and that he doesn’t plan to thwart the success of a crowdfunding campaign to deliver on what he promised. “There are a lot of campaigns that have missed deadlines or delivered products that do not meet the promise and sales vision. We want to over-deliver. We want to create the best suitcase of all time.”
Since the campaign ended in early December, the team has been focusing on “100% on production”. They will work every day with their customers and production partners in China to ensure they will be able to meet the order and quality of the products promised to customers. “One of the great things about Indigogo and Crowdfunding is that we can talk to our communities and supporters while we’re developing our products.”
Asked what his advice was for other young entrepreneurs looking to start a crowdfunding campaign, Brian emphasized, “The first and foremost thing is the product. You have to create the product that people want.” Bluesmart was clearly able to attract a large base of early customers by creating a product that people really want.
Out of the suitcase
Brian Chen grew up in an entrepreneurial family in Taiwan. His grandfather was a business owner and the entrepreneur was encouraged in his family. “I wanted to be an entrepreneur before I uttered that word … I’ve always seen entrepreneurs as heroes.” Prior to joining Bluesmart, Brian worked as director of business activities for the Daily Secret, a digital media brand, and also worked with entrepreneur nonprofit Endeavor and as a portfolio management analyst for Hall Capital Partners. Brian is currently pursuing an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Q: What drives you as an entrepreneur on a daily basis?
A: I like the fact that we are bringing a product into the world that has never been before – which has never been in the hands of travelers.
After successfully delivering thousands of Bluesmart suitcases sold through their crowdfunding campaigns, Brian said Bluesmart’s prospects are “endless and exciting.”
While helping to design an enhanced travel experience for customers, Bluesmart is helping to expand the growing innovation behind everyday consumers and ‘smart’ products. “I think we are entering an age where everything is going to be connected. Everything is going to be smart, and smart will no longer be a meaningful adjective because it will describe the world around us. “
Don’t go packing yet! Listen to the full interview with Brian Chen below!
– “I have worked really hard to keep myself surrounded by other entrepreneurs and people with entrepreneurial minds. For me, it was very important to have that support network to help me through the ups and downs of the journey and to help create ideas. ”
– “What I really like for a day is to build a career, a company and a life that can be inspiring for other aspiring entrepreneurs. It will be a dream come true for me.
– Listen to the five co-founding founding team and what they bring to the team.
– “Ideas are created by networks and really diverse exposures across different skills, concepts and backgrounds.”
Listen to the full interview here: